Swan in pastels

I completed this swan a few weeks ago. It was part of a challenge run by Lachri in a group she runs for Patreon supporters. The reference image was from MorgueFile and the challenge was to improve upon the reference by simplifying the background and adding details.

My attempt was only on A4 and so the swan wasn’t large enough for me to add a lot of detail. But it is a nice little study.

Pastel painting of a white swan

A4 Pastel on dark toned Canson Mi-Teintes.


A Look Ahead (and Zebras!)

I must have given a very good impression of having a slow start to 2015 because I haven’t updated this blog. But really, I’ve been extremely busy. In early January we got some surprising but very welcome news that we were going to be able to move house. So I spent a lot of January and February packing, unpacking and decorating, and several weeks without home internet access.

I prioritised having a place to work on my art, and an easy to access place to store my materials, as soon as we moved in. I didn’t want to have my art materials spread around in boxes and difficult to get to because it just puts a massive obstacle to creating. I also tried to get my drawing board out as many evenings as possible to get into a good habit of working and creating here.

These zebras I drew as part of an art challenge run by Lisa Clough (Lachri Fine Art). She provided a reference photo of the foreground zebra, and challenged people to draw or paint it into a new scene. I choose a natural backdrop, from a beautiful shot of zebra by Frankie Kay (via Neil Nicholson on Paint My Photo).

Zebras Grazing on the Savannah

Zebras Grazing on the Savannah

I’m currently working on a portrait which is a gift so I can’t share in progress photos. Over the next few weeks I’m going to concentrate on designing my website so that I’m ready to market my art business outside of my friends and relatives on Facebook. 2015 has been lucky and exciting for me so far and I’m really looking forward to growing as an artist this year. I’ve got the opportunity to exhibit some artwork in a local exhibition in June with my local art group, so I’m looking forward to creating some original work for that. I’d like to focus on some wildlife pieces, so these zebras might make an appearance!

I’ve also joined an online art group started by Lisa Clough (Lachri) who I mentioned above, and it’s really great to be surrounded by so many inspiring artists, especially when I find it difficult to get along to my local group regularly.

I hope your new year is going as well as mine, I’ll try to update again soon, so if you have any questions or comments, just leave me a message below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


Happy Holidays!

I hope you are having a great holiday, whatever that is to you. Feasts, sweets, family get-togethers, board games, a good book, favourite films, personal reflection, gifts, parties etc. Here we’re a bit greedy and celebrate from Yule to New Year. So we have plenty of fun.

I’m excited about 2015, I’ve got plenty of lovely art supplies to play with and ideas for what I’d like to achieve. Do you have big plans this year?

Having Goals

You might have noticed that I disappeared during November… or maybe you didn’t! In the last couple of days of October, I decided to take part in National Novel Writing Month, an annual challenge to write 50,000 words of an original story in November. I had done it before, but at that point I didn’t have a toddler to take care of, so I didn’t expect to achieve it. And yet I did.

Goals can be powerful. Having support from people pursing similar goals is even more so.

Today I went to my local art group (which I attend irregularly due to the aforementioned toddler) and I was speaking to one of the other artists there who was telling me about the watercolour cottage he was painting. He said it was his last watercolour. I waited, wondering what he meant. And he explained that he was going to be working in acrylics next year, that he’d been working in watercolour for a year and was bored and frustrated with it now.

So I asked him if he set new goals each year. And he does. Some to do with art, some to do with music (his other passion), some to do with DIY. He achieves some and lets others slide by (the DIY mostly!) but it gives him something to aim for. I liked the idea of his goal to work in acrylics.

The idea of setting resolutions or goals for the new year is hardly new but I’ve been inspired to have a good long think about some meaningful and achievable goals to set for the next year. I’ll share my artistic ones on Spirited Sketches once I’ve decided them. Do you have any creative goals you’d like to share?

So I spent November writing my novel. I have been drawing in December, though I can’t share what I’ve been doing yet as I’ve been working on commissions for Christmas gifts, so I’ll wait till they have been received before I let you have a look. I had hoped to do a few smaller personal pieces (a cover for my novel, entries in to various monthly challenges) so that I would still have things to blog about but I’ve been busy between the commissions, my novel, preparations for the holidays and taking care of my husband who had a minor op last month.

I hope to have work to share with you again soon.



Apologies for being slow to approve comments, I’m off on an adventure – my first solo holiday – to Devon and London. So far, having a great time visiting relatives and toddler is on his best behaviour and charming everyone. I haven’t done much drawing yet but I’m taking plenty of reference photos for later.

Do keep the comments coming, I really appreciate hearing what you think of my artwork. Do tell me what you create too. I’ll reply when I can.

Quietish Month

Apologies for being so quiet recently. I was feeling pretty rotten with hayfever and a bad asthma flare up and I was using the spare time and energy I did have to decorate parts of my flat – still have a long way to go with that project.

However I have not been forgetting about art work. I started to plan out an illustration that didn’t quite get to a stage I felt able to share it. I might go back to it at a later date. I picked out a Paint my Photo reference to use for their August challenge and I’ve started on that – which I’ll share in my next post. I’ve also completed some of the admin tasks required to set up as self-employed and got my first commission! I’ll start work on that once I get back from my week away in Devon/London.

I hope to have time for a bit of sketchbook work while I’m away, but as I’ll be in sole charge of our toddler that might prove tricky, in which case I’ll take plenty of photos to sketch and draw from when I get home. I’m really excited, it’ll be quite the adventure!